Drift Inversion 2017 by David Franklin and Aaron Whelton
When I was a kid in Colorado, my family would travel almost every weekend to my grandparents’ antique shop in Silver Plume or to the family cabin in Pine. Those drives into the Rocky Mountains always took us through tunnels that marked our ascent into a different world from the plains below. That memory played a role in my choosing the pedestrian underpass in the Sand Hills Prairie Park at Denver’s Stapleton Airport as the site for this installation with my friend and co-designer, Aaron Whelton. Located in a relatively cold, windy, and unwelcoming part of the park, this tunnel seemed like the perfect setting to create an inviting, engaging space. Our challenge was to develop a concept that related to the natural history of the area.
Long before Stapleton’s runways and facilities transformed the area into a busy urban landscape, this particular corner of the Denver metro area was covered in sand dunes. They were my inspiration for “Drift Inversion,” a 23′ x 128′ installation that turns the original landscape upside-down to create a surreal experience for any visitor who happens upon the underpass.
The completed “Drift Inversion” is installed in the pedestrian tunnel that runs under Central Park Boulevard between 53rd and 54th in Denver, CO